By Amanda N. Wegner
For many generations, in heterosexual couples, financial management has been considered a man’s responsibility. But the tide is changing, say our experts.
“Nowhere does it say that this is something women shouldn’t do,” says Ridley Hanson. And women must play an equal role in their finances because of two stark facts about opposite-sex marriages: About 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Also, women outlive men by about six years. Regardless of what type of partnership you’re in, it’s important to be vigilant about money.
“You’re not doing yourself any favors by not being involved in financial decisions …” says Ridley Hanson. “Unfortunately, everyone is disadvantaged because there’s no financial education in school, but men’s confidence is what helps them here.”
In other words, don’t wait for a financial crisis such as a divorce, death or economic downturn to understand your family’s finances — the time is now.
“This is where the quote, ‘Knowledge is power’ comes in,” says Joanna G. Burish, managing partner of Custer Financial Services. “You must understand what assets you have and how to best utilize their advantages. There are many moving pieces to finance, and educating yourself is important. The worst thing you can do is not get expert help [with your finances] — [this] help will save you so much money in the future!”
The male-female money divide doesn’t help matters either. The U.S. Census Bureau reports a difference of $10,000 in median annual income for men and women in Wisconsin. However, with wage transparency laws taking hold around the nation and women becoming empowered to speak up for equal pay, many are hopeful the gap will continue to narrow.
Read more about how to make your money for you.